Saturday, September 05, 2015

Incoming Books: September 3

We are a family of traditions and repeated experiences -- I want to say "like most families," but I've learned that what I think is typical often isn't. But we do the same things again and again, especially over the course of years -- take a week-long vacation in early November, run out to Hershey Park the last week of summer vacation, have family holidays the same ways every year.

And one recent addition to the end-of-summer tradition -- the other thing about traditions is that they're Katamaris, rolling up new stuff every time and sometimes getting too large and unwieldy for their own good -- is a side-trip to Midtown Scholar, a good used bookstore in Harrisburg, PA. (Coincidentally, only about twenty minutes from where we stay for Hershey -- not on the way home, actually, but only a short side-trip.)

We did that, all of that, again this week. My older son, whose name I'll probably have to include here one of these days, bought two books for himself -- one on Yoga, and I didn't catch what he said the other one was. And I got these things:

Contrary to Popular Belief, a small squarish book of things-you-thought-were-facts by Joey Green, which I expect will end up in the smallest room in the house one of these days.

Hons and Rebels, Jessica Mitford's memoir of her unusual childhood and family. (And what vaguely literary person isn't fascinated by the Mitfords?) I got the 1999 Phoenix edition, in a nice clean copy, which makes me doubly happy because I'm snobby enough to have a vague preference for UK editions.

If I Die in a Combat Zone, Tim O'Brien's highly-praised memoir of his time in Vietnam. I seem to be on a nonfiction kick lately -- "lately" meaning about five years -- so I'm more likely to read this than Going After Cacciato or The Things They Carried, both of which I think I used to have, pre-flood.

Contact!, a book of short travel writing by Jan Morris. I've read travel stuff in a disorganized, random way for years, most notably with Paul Theroux, but Morris is supposedly the one everyone else looks up to, so I should read her one of these days. And this is an attractive and slim book, which is a plus.

And last is Nightwork, an illustrated history of the hanks and pranks committed by MIT students, written by Institute Historian T.F. Peterson. This is a second edition of a book that I think came out in the '90s -- I had it, and read it, and liked it, before the flood, but that was long enough ago that it was before this blog. I got this to read it again, and because my budding technologist and budding evil genius younger son will probably love it.

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